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Williams tabs Taylor Jordan to start spring opener for Nationals

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VIERA, Fla. - Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams said Tuesday that Taylor Jordan will start the team's first spring training game.

The Nationals open Grapefruit League play against the New York Mets on Friday in Port St. Lucie.

Williams did not say who will start the home opener Saturday against Atlanta, but he said Stephen Strasburg is on target to take the mound on opening day, March 31, against the Mets in New York.

The first-year manager said the team has its pitching schedule mapped out.

Jordan, a 25-year-old right-hander, made nine starts for Washington last season and went 1-3 with a 3.66 ERA. He is in contention for the team's No. 5 starter position.

"I've been really impressed with what I've seen," Williams said of Jordan, who has a mid-90s fastball, changeup and breaking ball. "It's electric stuff out of the hand. I can't wait to see him in a game and get an opposition hitter in there and have some competition for him."

Williams said the team would likely start setting up its regular-season rotation after the off day March 18. But first, there are a number of pitchers he wants to get a look at, including Jordan, who is competing with Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark and Ross Ohlendorf for the final spot in the Nationals' rotation.

NOTES: Ryan Zimmerman, who has been projected to move from third base to first in the later stages of his career, spent part of Tuesday's workout practicing his footwork and taking throws in the dirt at first base. Williams said Zimmerman could get a few innings at first base this spring. ... An MRI on RHP Ryan Mattheus revealed he has an inflammation of the cartilage connecting his sternum to his ribs. Mattheus said the injury could clear up in a week, or it could take four weeks, but he and the team are taking it day to day. He took part in conditioning work Tuesday, which he took as a good sign. ... Minor league INF Josh Johnson had surgery Tuesday to repair a broken hamate bone in his left wrist. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

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